Suicide no. 9: The Lottery
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
The double-barreled shotgun was cocked.
Everything was as planned—as planned as you could make a suicide without getting all squeamish about it. A quart of apple pie moonshine was all that was left. Jimmy from the lumber mill made it, because that’s what Jimmy did on the side. Jack liked Jimmy, and they were close. Ask Jack what Jimmy thought about something musical, and Jack always knew what bands Jimmy thought were worth a fuck, and why he liked classic rock.
Until Jimmy just died one day. He was headed home from work, and a coal truck hit him head on. New, neotenous driver behind the wheel. Old fatality, old style of death.
Jack had done: an eight ball of coke, some heroin, some amphetamine. His past week merely a drug-addled blur—with the exception of his remembering Jeanine. He did his drugs and drank in remembrance of Hunter S. Thompson, so he told himself.
Jenny was his ex from six months ago—who moved on. The one that cheated on him eight times in their four-month romp. The “one-that-got-away.” What a stupid phrase, that one—as if anything escapes suffering, unscathed. Jenny understood, but needed her meds. And the doctor said no, three months in a row.
And Jenny did what she could to get her meds. Or the equivalent. Detroit always came through.
That’s how he lost his savings: trying to help Jenny. He’d talk about “recovery,” and she had no need to “recover.”
Then, there was Amy—fat, repulsive Amy. He couldn’t even stand the way she talked. But, he’d fucked her. Became friends with her. Admired who she’d become. Watched her graduate law school.
And die of cancer.
Need we recover Jack’s list of childhood failures? His failed attempts at school? His quitting—everything he’s ever tried? Need we remember that this wasted life was anything worthwhile? We should, as an ode. Jack never recollected, though. He spent his last hours reflecting on the lives of others: lives, he thought, more austere than his.
And he watched T.V.
Nothing worthy was on at this hour. The game shows had gone off. And it was time for the gentleman in the gray suit to announce some series of numbers that Jack waited on: almost a funerary measure before beginning his expedition into the unknown:
19-21-31-42-61, also no. 20.
How could those numbers resonate at this hour…of all times. He remembered why he picked the numbers:
- He lost his virginity, finally, at age nineteen.
- Twenty-one was legal drinking age.
- Thirty-one was just how old he was now.
- Forty-two was when he’d hope to meet his first wife, strange as it sounds to most.
- Sixty-one was when he’d hope to die—secretly.
But twenty was the age he’d first contemplated the idea of ending his life.
And, as he pulled the gun away from his head: knowing that he’d just won the lottery, with a smile on his face, the shoddy, terribly made weapon just went off…with no note behind.
Inspired by The Daily Prompt:
- Lottery winners are from Huntertown (wane.com)
- Why we’re addicted to the lottery (timragan.wordpress.com)
- Big Dreams, Slim Odds: The Lottery Economy (mint.com)